Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to recognize your own feelings and those of other people, to be able to motivate yourself, to manage emotions in yourself and in your relationships. Chris Walkins
History of ‘Emotional Intelligence’
In 1985 a graduate student in the USA wrote a doctoral thesis which included the term ‘emotional intelligence’ in the title. This was the first-ever-academic use of the term emotional intelligence, popularly known as EQ … Emotional Quotient.
Then in 1990 the research work of two American university professors, John Mayer and Peter Salovey, was published in two academic journal articles. Mayer (University of New Hampshire) and Salovey (University of Yale), were trying to develop a way of scientifically measuring the difference between people’s ability in the area of emotions. They found out that some people were better than others at things like identifying their own feelings, identifying the feelings of others, and solving problems involving emotional issues.
Since their work in 1990 these professors have developed different tests to measure what they call “emotional intelligence.” Because nearly all of their writings have been done in the academic community, their names and their actual research findings are not widely known.
Instead, the person most commonly associated with the term emotional intelligence is a New York writer named Daniel Goleman who had been writing articles for the magazine ‘Popular Psychology’ and then later for the New York Times newspaper. Around 1994, he was evidently planning to write a book about “emotional literacy.” For that book he was visiting different schools to see what programs they had for developing emotional literacy. He was also doing a lot of reading about emotions in general. In his insatiable thirst for reading, he came upon the work of Professors Mayer and Salovey. At some point it seems that Goleman decided to change the title of his upcoming book to “Emotional Intelligence”, and this book instantly became an international best seller.
In this book, Goleman has collected a lot of interesting information on human brain, emotions, and behaviors.
Emotional intelligence is the capacity for effectively recognizing and managing our own emotions and those of others.
Research and experience demonstrate that while some aspects of our personalities are fixed, the way we act out those qualities is ours to choose. In other words:
• We do not choose our characteristics, but we do choose our characters
• We do not choose many of the events of our lives, but we do choose how we react to them.
Emotions have the potential to get in the way of our most important business and personal relationships. According to Professor John Cotter of the Harvard Business School, ‘because of the furious pace of change in business today, difficult to manage relationships sabotage more business than anything else — it is not a question of strategy that gets us into trouble, it is a questions of emotions’.
How Important is EQ to Performance?
Research tracking over 160 high performing individuals in a variety of industries and job levels revealed that emotional intelligence was two times as important in contributing to excellence than intellect and expertise alone (Goleman, 1998)
Goleman based his performance-related research on hundreds of top executives from some of the world’s largest corporations and concluded that close to 90% of leadership success is attributable to EQ.
How do emotions promote or demote our work performance? An understanding of the following EQ Model will automatically enable you to find out a solid answer to this critical question:
1 – Know Yourself
1. What makes you think, act and feel the way you do?
2. What parts of your reaction are habitual (done without conscious thoughts) and which parts are intentional?
3. What are you afraid of?
Self-awareness: The recognition of the causes and effects of your own feelings and reactions.
Self-honesty: The acceptance of your own qualities and faults, your experiences, emotions and your own power.
Independence: The recognition of your own rights and responsibilities as a free person.
2 – Choose Yourself
1. How do you know what is right for you?
2. Can you increase your awareness of actions so that you can see their effects?
3. If you were not afraid, what would you do?
4. Can you live with doing less that what is right?
Delay Gratification: Take right action even though there may not be an immediate reward.
Prioritize: Bring to the forefront of your mind to a “checklist” of what is more important so that you can weigh decisions and actions.
Manage Feeling: Use the simple feelings to act.. not react.
Optimism: Recognize that you have choices, that you can make a difference, that you are an important part of a living whole.
Accountability: Hold yourself to high standards and do what is right, even when it seems hopeless.
3 – Give Yourself
1:- Am I leaving a legacy of good?
2:- Am I healing or hurting?
3:- Will I die knowingly I lived well?
Interdependence: The recognition of an individual’s place in the larger community; awareness and decision making that takes into account the short and long term consequences of our actions.
Noble Goals: Commit to actions that serve ideals and others, but do not hurt anyone and do not profit one over another.
Build Emotional Literacy
Apply Consequential Thinking
Evaluate and Re-choose
Commit to Noble Goals
Fundamental 1: Build Emotional Literacy
Feelings are a complex aspect of every person. While research has identified eight “core” feelings (fear, joy, acceptance, anger, sorrow, disgust, surprise, expectation), we each experience dozens, even hundreds, of variations each single day. These emotions blend and merge, and frequently they conflict.
This EQ fundamental helps us sort out all of those feelings, name them, and begin to understand their causes and effects. It also helps us understand how emotions function in our brains and bodies, and the interaction of thought, feeling, and action.
Fundamental 2: Recognize Patterns
Human brain follows patterns, or neural pathways. Stimulus leads to response, and over time, the response becomes nearly automatic. On a neurological level the path way becomes a road, the road a highway, and the highway a super expressway — until it requires extraordinary measures to interrupt the automatic process.
On a behavioral level, the neural patterns lead to behavior patterns. At a young age, we learn lessons of how to cope, how to get our needs met, how to protect ourselves. These strategies reinforce one another, and we develop a complex structure of beliefs to support the validity of the behaviors. As we become more conscious of the patterns we exhibit, it becomes possible to 1), analyze the beliefs and replace them if appropriate, and 2), interrupt the pattern and replace it with conscious behavior that moves us closer to our real goals. This is an enormously difficult task that requires commitment and vigilance — but it is not difficult to begin.
Fundamental 3: Apply Consequential Thinking
People are often told to control their emotions, to suppress feelings like anger, joy, or fear, and cut them off from the decision-making process. This old paradigm suggests that emotions make us less effective; nothing could be farther from reality. Feelings provide insight, energy, and are the real basis for almost every decision. Instead of disconnecting our emotions, we need to control our actions so that we have time to make the most creative, insightful, and powerful decisions. Particularly when dealing with conflict or crisis, we need to slow down the process and apply carefully practiced strategies that lead to decisions informed by the fused powers of heart and mind.
This “habit of mind” stems from a clear understanding of the consequences of our choices and the ability to imagine the cause and effect relationships. This process allows us to be as impulsive as we truly want to be, but also forces us to limit impulsivity when consequences are undesirable. One key mechanism to develop and monitor consequential thinking is “self-talk.” Self-talk is a mechanism to mentally explore multiple options and viewpoints; it provides a system to balance the various aspects of our self. Just as in conversations outside ourselves, sometimes the louder voice gets more attention; the issue in both cases is to develop a process where listening is valued and all the voices — loud or soft — are heard.
Fundamental 4: Evaluate and Re-choose
In our daily lives, we have countless opportunities to get feedback about our thoughts, feelings and actions, and to then change if the feedback so warrants. Unfortunately, we also have a great capacity to ignore this feedback and continue with a scarcity of useful information. In this unconscious state it is easy to become selfish, to sever connections with our humanity, and to subjugate ourselves to addictions or other compensations.
The alternative is to listen — listen to ourselves and listen to others. When we become skilled at sensing our own emotions, we are able to tap into the energy that they provide and take action. Emotions are energy, and one place where that energy most frequently erupts is in conflict.
Conflict is inherent in human interaction; you need only look at a group of preschoolers at play to see its significance. To manage this strife, we develop skills for evaluation, negotiation, and compromise. To socialize effectively you must recognize and gauge other peoples’ thoughts, feelings, and actions just as you monitor your own. These skills are heavily dependent on interpreting paralanguage (body-language, tone, utterances, facial expression, and other forms of nonverbal communication). An effective socializer is able to turn conflict into a positive force. S/he creates compromise and makes sure needs are met. S/he can mobilize people, persuade, and inspire others.
The most critical step to teaching effective socialization is to provide positive role models and opportunities for children to practice what they have observed. Today, children often do not see their parents interacting socially, nor do they have as many opportunities to practice social skills with extended family. Thus, it is even more important that parents provide these mechanisms and opportunities.
Fundamental 5: Motivate Yourself
Motivation” comes from Latin “to move;” it is a goal-oriented behavior. In essence, we take action because it feels good to do so. It feels right to take a break when we are on overload, then it feels right to go back to work. The challenge is to make it feel right to take action that does not have an immediate reward. To do so, we have got to tap into the part of ourselves that has a longer-view — which also feels right. We each make countless decisions each hour. For example:
• What should I eat for lunch?
• What clothes should I wear today?
• Which book should I read? Ask?
In part, we make those decisions unconsciously based on our patterns and habits. In part, we make those decisions based on our personal priorities. So, if we want to redirect our decision to take a longer-term view, we need to both shape unconscious habits and examine priorities to make sure they match.
In addition to motivating ourselves, it is important to learn how to motivate others. There are many ways to do so; the most obvious are “extrinsic” motivations. For example, “If you carry my bag, I’ll give you a candy bar,” is a simple example of extrinsic motivation — it is a bribe or a type of commercial interaction. Quite useful at times — but it doesn’t last. Building lasting motivation requires a more complex strategy; one that employs both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (ideally 60-80% of the focus is on intrinsic motivation). Building motivation in others begins with three elements:
1. They need to feel the benefit of the priority you are suggesting. If you want a child to use a more polite vocabulary, s/he needs to experience how such a decision would feel good. S/he will develop that experience by being spoken to with polite words — at the same time, it might feel good to avoid the consequences of using impolite words — and that will feel good.
2. Always treat them as you want them to be. John’s mother always treated him as if he were honest — even when he was not. He internalized that value and struggled to improve his actions because it felt good to have his real behavior meet that high standard.
3. Give time. Motivation is a complex process and a vital one. Like so many intra-personal skills, it often takes years or decades for the seeds to bloom.
Fundamental 6: Choose Optimism
Likewise, children are born optimistic, and tend to stay optimistic until they are six or seven. At that time, life’s difficulties impinge enough that the door is opened for hopelessness. Research suggests that to avoid getting trapped in the negativity, people need at least one refuge. The refuge can be a person or a practice (such as reading) that provides positive input. It is remarkable to think that one source of kindness, one source of comfort, one source of hope is enough to combat the terrible perils that some children experience.
Optimism validates our long-term motivation because it lets us see the future as positive and worthwhile. Optimism allows us to see beyond the present and feel good about what may happen. It is closely tied to perseverance which inspires us to continue the journey despite the difficulties of day-to-day life.
Fundamental 7: Create Empathy
Empathy is the ability to recognize and respond to other people’s emotions. It is connected to optimism because it is through a sense of our connection to others that we see our own efficacy and importance. Together they govern a significant portion of our behaviour; they are the gatekeepers of our emotional selves. When we are empathic, it hurts us to hurt others or to see them hurt. We actually experience for ourselves the emotions of others.
It is motivating, then, not only to do what makes us feel good, but what makes others feel good. Thus, empathy is the force which makes the golden rule true. Some parts of empathy are instinctive. Infants will reach out and touch others in distress; in maternity wards, one infant’s tears will lead to a room full of crying babies. This mimicry is the first step towards forming empathy. Unfortunately, this unconscious or instinctive behaviour does not automatically lead to conscious empathy. Instead, these flickering flames must be carefully banked and fueled through role-modeling, reinforcement, and practice. Once people develop empathy on a conscious level, it becomes self-reinforcing because it answers a deep-seated need to connect with others.
Fundamental 8: Commit to Noble Goals
Noble goals activate all of the other elements of EQ. Through our missions and our acts of human kindness, the commitment to emotional intelligence gains relevance and power. Just as our personal priorities shape our daily choices, our noble goals shape our long-term choices. They give us a sense of direction, they give us a spar to hold in the storm, they are the compass for our soul. All the “inside” aspects of emotional intelligence change your attitudes. They shape your own life; they help you become the person you want to be. Your noble goals touch the future.